T&T Coast Football Top 10, 11/1/16
Just one change to the T&T Coast Top 10 this week with a new team entering after a big divisional win. The rest of the ranked teams were victorious except for the losing team in one of the match-ups between top 10 squads.
As the Week 9 games approach this weekend there are division titles and playoff spots on the line, so the stakes will be high in almost every game. Manalapan in Class A North, St. John Vianney is Class A Central, Mater Dei Prep in Class B Central and Point Boro in Class B South can each wrap up their respective division titles outright with victories on Friday night. Toms River North and Central square off in a winner-take-all battle for the Class A South division title. Class B North may not be decided until Thanksgiving, but Middletown South can clinch with a win over Wall coupled with a loss by Manasquan.
As for the postseason, Rumson-Fair Haven, Raritan, Lakewood and Pinelands appear to be facing must-win scenarios to lock up postseason berths. The Bulldogs have won three state titles in a row, so to miss the playoffs with a winning record would be shocking. The Piners and Wildcats are playing each other in a B South tilt, so both teams will be playing for something big. The Rockets are the defending Central Jersey Group II champions and have won four in a row after an 0-3 start.
T&T Coast Shore Conference Football Top 10 for Week 9
1. Toms River North (8-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior quarterback Mike Husni rewrote the record book yet again for the Mariners by throwing for 195 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns in a 55-13 win over arch-rival Toms River South in “The Civil War.'' Husni is now the first player in Shore Conference history to pass and rush for 1,000 yards in a season three times. He also became the Mariners’ single-season leader in touchdown passes (20) and career touchdowns (97). Senior running back Parker Day added 129 yards and three touchdowns and senior wideout Bryce Watts caught four passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Next game: Before turning their attention to the South Jersey Group V playoffs where the defending champions will be the No. 1 seed, the Mariners will try to lock up the Class A South title outright in a winner-take-all clash with No. 9 Central (7-1, 6-0).
2. Manalapan (8-0). Last week: No. 2
The Braves solidified themselves as the favorite in Central Jersey Group V with a 21-10 come-from-behind victory over Piscataway at Rutgers, rallying from a 10-0 deficit early in the third quarter. Junior running back Naim Mayfield led the way with 172 yards rushing and the go-ahead touchdown on 22 carries, while junior linebacker Sal Tardogno made a game-high nine tackles and came through with a clutch strip and recovery on a fourth-down play deep in Manalapan territory. Junior fullback Chris Maksimik had an 8-yard touchdown catch and senior defensive back Sean Kinniburgh had a game-clinching 61-yard interception return for a touchdown. Next game: Manalapan will go for the outright division title in Class A North when it hosts district rival Freehold Township (7-1) on Friday night.
3. St. John Vianney (8-0). Last week: No. 3
The Lancers used a last-minute goal-line stand to pull out a thrilling 23-20 victory over No. 4 Middletown South for their second win over a top-five opponent this season. Senior running back and strong safety Chris Chukwuneke had 155 total yards, including a 76-yard touchdown catch and a 1-yard touchdown run, plus a mammoth tackle for a loss on third down that forced Middletown South to attempt a field goal that was eventually missed. A.J. Calabro had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown and Will Forman kicked a 21-yard field goal that stood up as the winning points. Junior linebacker Johnny Buchanan had another big game with 14 tackles. Next game: St. John Vianney can clinch its third straight outright Class A Central title with a win over Monmouth Regional (2-6) on Friday night.
4. Middletown South (5-2). Last week: No. 4
The Eagles suffered their second straight loss, losing a heartbreaker to St. John Vianney, 23-20, in a game that came down to the final minute. Senior wide receiver Jeremy Joyce had a 56-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Aneesh Agrawal, senior Samson Dube returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and senior Maxx Imsho had a 1-yard touchdown run and a 41-yard interception return on defense. Next game: Middletown South will try to stop its skid and stay atop the division standings in Class B North when it takes on No. 8 Wall (6-1, 3-1) on Friday night.
5. Rumson-Fair Haven (5-2). Last week: No. 5
Senior quarterback Mike O’Connor ran for two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass to sophomore Ian O’Connor, while the Bulldogs recorded their fourth shutout of the season in a 42-0 win over Monmouth Regional. Sophomore fullback Alex Maldjian, senior running back Matt Vecchiarelli and junior running back Peter Lucas each had touchdown runs. Lucas also had an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. O’Connor finished with 102 yards rushing on just five carries while Vecchiarelli had 95 yards on 13 carries. The Rumson defense hasn't allowed a touchdown in five of seven games. Next game: The Bulldogs are the defending Central Jersey Group III champs and are going for their fourth straight state title, but need a win over Carteret (5-2) at home on Friday night to clinch a playoff berth.
6. Manasquan (6-1). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Jerry Maher threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore James Pendergist and a 50-yard touchdown to senior tight end Adam Schreck as the resurgent Warriors earned a 29-14 win over Matawan. Sophomore running back Canyon Birch had a one-yard touchdown run and junior Evan Hilla blocked a punt and then recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. Next game: Manasquan hosts Red Bank Catholic (5-3) in a Class B North game on Friday night where it will try to further its playoff position in Central Jersey Group II.
7. Middletown North (5-2). Last week: No. 7
Senior quarterback Donald Glenn threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns and sophomore running back Connor Robbins ran for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries in a 38-34 win over Long Branch. Senior tight end Brock Zenker had touchdown catches of 28 and 12 yards and junior H-back Austin Dewise had a 47-yard touchdown catch and a 4-yard touchdown run that stood as the game-winning score. Sophomore Joey Cavanagh kicked a 33-yard field goal. Next game: Middletown North travels to Ocean (4-4) on Friday night where it will look to secure a win and a top-two seed in the North 2, Group IV playoffs.
8. Wall (6-1). Last week: No. 8
The Crimson Knights had a bye in Week 8 after defeating Matawan, 35-14, in Week 7. Next game: Wall returns to action with a huge Class B North game on Friday night against No. 4 Middletown South where a win will force a tie atop the division and lock up the No. 1 seed in the South Jersey Group III playoffs. The Knights hope to welcome back senior running back/defensive back Sean Larkin, who was injured in a loss to Middletown North and missed the Matawan game.
9. Central (7-1). Last week: unranked
Senior running back Mike Bickford ran for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-7 over Brick to eclipse the 5,000-yard mark for his career, become Central’s all-time leading rusher and keep the Golden Eagles alive for the Class A South title. Senior Denis Corbin added a short touchdown run and senior defensive end Jared Giaimo led a defense that limited Brick to 140 total yards. Next game: The Golden Eagles’ final game of the season is a mammoth collision with No. 1 Toms River North (8-0) on Friday night for the outright Class A South title.
10. Mater Dei Prep (8-0). Last week: No. 10
Senior wideout Eddie Lewis caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback George Pearson and returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown as the Seraphs cruised to a 41-0 win over South River to tie the program record for wins in a season. Sincere Sanders added two rushing touchdowns, Marvin Pierre had a 10-yard touchdown run and Andre Spann recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. The defense recorded its third shutout of the season. Next game: Mater Dei can clinch the outright Class B Central title with a win over Point Beach (5-3) on Friday night.
Dropped out: No. 9 Brick (5-3).
Teams to watch:
Freehold Township (7-1): Senior running back Max Nowak ran for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns on 12 carries and senior quarterback Charles Sabbagh threw for 244 yards with a passing and rushing touchdown in a 36-14 win over East Brunswick that clinched back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in program history. Next game: The Patriots take on No. 2 Manalapan (8-0) where a win will give them a share of the Class A North title.
Raritan (4-3): The Rockets picked up their fourth straight win with a 42-6 victory over Spotswood as senior quarterback Marc Carnivale threw three touchdown passes and senior running back Vito Aleo racked up 103 yards and a score on the ground. Next game: Raritan takes on Red Bank (3-4) where it needs a win to qualify for the Central Jersey Group II playoffs. The Rockets are the defending champion.
Keyport (7-1): Greg Robinson ran for a pair of touchdowns and Chris Hogrefe threw a touchdown pass to Joey Kay-Flagg in a 21-15 win over rival Keansburg for the Red Raiders’ fifth straight win. Next game: Keyport can clinch the No. 1 seed for the Central Jersey Group I playoffs by beating Shore, which can do the same with a win.
Football editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.